Former Political Prisoners Nacchio, Bolden, Scrushy To Warn of Democracy Threats July 29 At Whistle Blowers Summit In DC

Participants in three of the most controversial and important politics-tinged criminal cases in recent American history will condemn dangers to democracy July 29 at the annual Whistle Blowers Summit on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Whistle Blower Summit 2015Former Qwest Communications International Chairman and CEO Joseph Nacchio, former Secret Service White House special agent Abraham Bolden (shown in a photo), and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy will speak on “Exposing U.S. Political Prosecutions & Dangers To Democracy” on a 4 p.m. panel moderated by the Justice Integrity Project.

Each speaker became a whistleblower, victim, and now a hero in, respectively, the national debate regarding warrantless electronic surveillance, President John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination, and the federal prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, who remains imprisoned for reappointing Scrushy in 1999 to an unpaid state board from which Scrushy resigned the following year.

Abraham Bolden (recent)The free, three-day Summit convenes whistleblowers, other reformers, and the media beginning at the Stewart Mott House, which is located on Maryland Avenue NE between Senate office buildings and the Capitol Visitors Center.

Nacchio will describe the federal government as a major threat to democracy. He speaks also at a 10 a.m. "Newsmaker" conference July 29 run by the National Press Club at its headquarters on 14th St. NW, two blocks from the White House. The club's moderator will be Michael Smith, a public affairs commentator who contributes to the Huffington Post and who will moderate a media panel at the Summit.

The former telecom leader Nacchio holds a rare combination of experience. He ran one of the nation's four major regional telephony companies while he sought also to protect customer privacy from requests from the National Security Agency (NSA). In a secret process, the Bush administration and NSA sought to obtain data in early 2001 (before 9/11) from the major telecom companies without then-required court orders.

The topic is back in the news because President Obama and congress last month ostensibly created new protections for the public with the USA Freedom Act, which relies of private telecom and IT providers to protect customer privacy by resisting any improper government data collection.

This editor organized the panel and has written extensively about the speakers and their ordeals both on the Justice Integrity Project site and in book form, including the forthcoming Presidential Puppetry 2016: What the Candidates' Hidden Agendas Mean For You. On that basis, an overview seems appropriate:

The panelists’ stature and experience provide a great opportunity for whistleblowers and other reformers in the audience to learn first-hand how the legal system can treat those who voice concerns on sensitive matters — and how brave souls are still willing to say what the public needs to hear even after suffering horrible reprisals.

Also, the discussion provides those in the media easy access to experts on controversies that remain timely and important.

In view of recent scandals about lax Secret Service protection of President Obama, for example, Bolden holds unusual expertise as a critic of the Secret Service protection for Kennedy, who had recruited Bolden to become the service’s first African-American to guard a president.

Secret Service breakdowns in 1963 enabled the only presidential assassination in recent history. Among many failures in long-established procedures, the Secret Service failed to implement normal precautions in the Dealey Plaza area where the killing occurred in Dallas. Yet, according to independent researchers, no one in the Secret Service was punished, except Bolden when he tried to complain afterward about security precautions.

NSA Official LogoScrushy was victimized in the notorious federal-state frame-up that has kept Siegelman imprisoned. The two were convicted on corruption charges after Scrushy's company contributed at Siegelman's request to a non-profit group, the Alabama Education Foundation. Siegelman and the foundation were advocating a state lottery to improve funding for K-12 education in Alabama.

Joseph Nacchio and 'The USA Freedom Act'

Joe Nacchio with Rick Sallinger of CBS (CBS Photo)Nacchio, who chaired two national network security and IT committees during the Bush administration, will argue that the federal government threatens American democracy in significant part because it has been violating constitutional rights, such as freedom from surveillance.

Shown in an interview with CBS reporter Rick Sallinger in a CBS photo, Nacchio is in a rare position to comment on the new USA Freedom Act signed by President Obama into law last month. As widely reported as in USA Today's, Senate approves USA Freedom Act, the law purports to end the National Security Agency's controversial bulk collection of the phone data of millions of Americans who have no ties to terrorism.

Edward SnowdenThe issue became prominent two years ago because of revelations by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, shown in a file photo. Snowden was, of course, the former employee of both the NSA and CIA who released via reporters vast numbers of secret documents in 2013 showing a comprehensive warrantless surveillance program of U.S. and global non-terrorists. Snowden, now living in Russia to prevent prosecution in which his motives would be legally irrelevant in terms of a defense, took his action after he became conscience-stricken over the government's snooping into private lives of citizens and the threat of secret reprisals based on the privacy violations.

Critics question whether the law can realistically restrain federal authorities from pressuring telecom and IT executives in secret because many of those contractors, like Qwest, have been highly dependent on government contracts. Qwest, the Colorado-based telecom provider for 14 Western states and a one-time major federal contractor, was acquired by CenturyLink in 2011.

Nacchio will describe why he became the nation’s only major telecom leader in early 2001 to refuse to hand over customer data to the National Security Agency without a court order as justification. Summit organizers have awarded him their annual Pillar Human Rights Corporate Courage Award for his bold stance protecting consumer privacy.

Abraham Bolden and JFK Secret Service Protection

Abraham Bolden book cover, The Echo from Dealey PlazaAs a Secret Service officer, Bolden traveled with President Kennedy but became disenchanted with the assignment when his fellow agents used racial slurs in his presence and engaged in a pattern of conduct that, in Bolden's opinion, endangered the president.

After the 1963 assassination Bolden told colleagues he planned to discuss security lapses. He was then indicted and convicted on corruption charges after two trials marred by such gross irregularities as a chief witness admitting he had perjured himself at the demand of a prosecutor.

Originally sentenced to a six-year term, Bolden was imprisoned more than three years, including solitary confinement limiting his access to media and lawyers. Now 80, he speaks by Skype because age and infirmity makes travel impossible from his Chicago home.

Bolden's well-received memoir in 2008, The Echo from Dealey Plaza, recounted his experiences in compelling fashion since JFK's murder at a downtown Dallas plaza, and the implications for current times.

Vincent PalamaraResearcher Vincent Palamara featured Bolden prominently in Survivor's Guilt, Palamara's comprehensive study published in 2013 of all surviving Secret Service officers relevant to the Kennedy death.

Bolden's courage and unmerited ordeal have been positively portrayed in several other recent books and opinion pieces. These include the comprehensive books JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James Douglass and Ultimate Sacrifice by Lamar Waldron with Thom Hartmann. Hartmann published a Huffington Post column in 2009 about Bolden, After 45 Years, a Civil Rights Hero Waits for Justice.

Biographical profiles on Bolden have been published by Spartacus Educational, Wikipedia and by special site, Abraham Bolden, created by the Secret Service historian Palamara.

Sinister Aspects of the Richard Scrushy-Don Siegelman Case

Richard Scrushy and sonScrushy, shown in prison with one of his nine children on a visit, will share his insights on the legal system.

In 2006, authorities convicted him on corruption charges for his company’s donations to the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation that former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman urged in 1999 in order to improve K-12 funding in their state with proceeds from a state lottery.

More than a hundred thousand protests have been relayed to the Bush and Obama administrations after CBS “60 Minutes,” among others, exposed in 2008 how the prosecution was politically contrived to remove from public life Siegelman, Alabama’s most prominent Democrat. Siegelman is scheduled for release in mid-2017 from a prison sentence imposed by Judge Mark Fuller, who is scheduled to resign his lifetime appointment Aug. 1 under pressure from court and other officials for, mostly visibly, a wife-beating scandal.

Even before that, Fuller had been highly controversial. In 2002, one lawyer filed legal papers seeking Fuller's impeachment and conviction on a claim of seeking to defraud Alabama's state pension system in order to reward a likely blackmailer. Federal authorities refused to include the 170-page filing and supporting evidence into the government's electronic document system, thereby preventing future litigants such as Scrushy and Siegelman from knowing about the allegations of judicial bias and corruption.

After their trial they learned about it as well as some $300 million in no-bid federal contracts that the judge controlled with up to 44 percent of the shares of the company, Doss Aviation, which trained U.S. and Saudi Arabian pilots and refueled Air Force planes, including the presidential Air Force One.

Given the normal deference according to judges, the mainstream media have only rarely reported the dubious nature of the judge's many pro-prosecution rulings and the government's coaching and threatening of prosecution witnesses at a special prosecution center created at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base to bring this just case. These factors contribute to a sinister police state dimension to the prosecution, not unlike the supposed national security elements in the background of the Nacchio and Bolden prosecutions.

The Justice Integrity Project, among others in the independent web-based media, has documented these events in many columns. These included several of our investigations published on the Huffington Post front page, such as Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows — $300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company.

But fellow judges closed ranks behind Fuller for years stating that judges are entitled to make money in such circumstances. They ruled — at times citing the relevant legal standard requiring a judge's recusal if there is a potential appearance of bias — that not one reasonable and independent person in the United States might think the judge's secret money-making could affect his impartiality. 

Among those who have protested the Scrushy-Siegelman prosecution are 113 former state attorneys general, the chief law enforcers in more than 40 states. They unsuccessfully argued to the U.S. Supreme Court that Scrushy’s donations and Siegelman’s reappointment of Scrushy to a state board (on which Scrushy had served under three previous GOP governors) did not constitute a crime — and are routine across the nation at the federal, state and local levels.  

Most public attention has focused on Siegelman. But Scrushy’s comments also provide rare insight into the criminal justice system. He will describe, for example, how he declined to win leniency for himself by providing prosecutors false testimony against Siegelman. Also, he can describe how defendants unsuccessfully argued in court for recusal on grounds they should have been informed before trial that their judge secretly controlled as largest shareholder a federal contractor receiving $300 million in military contracts while the judge issued many pro-prosecution rulings.

The Whistle Blower Summit

Admission is free to panels at the three-day Summit. Details on the Nacchio-Bolden-Scrushy panel are:

Where:     Stewart Mott House 122 Maryland Ave, NE, Washington, DC
When:      Wednesday, July 29, 2015 at 4 p.m. EDT

Beginning in May 2007, whistleblowers have convened annually for education and advocacy at the free conference, which unfolds at several sites in Washington, DC. Locales this year include the Mott House, the nearby Russell Senate Office Building, and a book-signing at the Busboys and Poets bookstore on 14th St. NW in the city's Adams-Morgan neighborhood.

The theme for this year’s is “Black Lives Matter — This Is The Movement!” Registration is Wednesday, July 29 beginning at 9 a.m. at the Mott House.

The events convene a broad spectrum of whistleblowers and supporters from the realms of national security, USDA, law enforcement, non-profits, financial sectors, military, and veterans affairs. Click here for details.

Column updated July 12, 2015


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Whistle Blower Summit News

OpEdNews, Whistleblowers "LEAP" onto Capitol Hill to Salute Black Lives Matter at Annual Whistle Blower Summit, Michael McCray (shown in photo), June 6, Michael McCray2015. Over the last eight years, members from the Make it Safe Coalition have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower's Week. The host committee members are ACORN 8, Coalition for Change (C4C), Project Censored, Justice Integrity Project, and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF). The theme for the annual conference this year is Black Lives Matter — This Is The Movement!

OpEdNews, Hollywood Filmmakers To Be Honored at Annual Whistle Blower Summit on Capitol Hill, Michael McCray, June 16, 2015. Over the last eight years members from the Make it Safe Coalition (MISC) have arranged an assembly of whistleblowers in Washington, DC each year for an annual conference originally known as Washington Whistleblower's Week. Host committee members -- ACORN 8, Coalition for Change (C4C), Project Censored, Justice Integrity Project and Federally Employed Women Legal Education Fund (FEW-LEF), will co-host this year's Whistle Blower Summit for Civil & Human Rights on Capitol Hill. The theme for the annual conference this year is Black Lives Matter--This Is The Movement!


Related News Coverage

Surveillance, the NSA, Privacy, and Qwest's Joseph Nacchio

Joe Nacchio with Rick Sallinger of CBS (CBS Photo)CBS News, Defiant Joe Nacchio Lashes Out Against Those Who Sent Him To Prison, Staff report, May 28, 2014. Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio lashed out at those who put him in federal prison for insider trading in a rare interview. Nacchio, who was released after serving 4 1/2 years and paying millions of dollars in restitution, spoke near his home in Florida with CBS4’s Rick Sallinger. It is the only interview Nacchio has granted with a Colorado reporter to date since his time behind bars. Nacchio showed no remorse in the interview and explained why he now has a shaved head and goatee. “I was a political prisoner. I figured I ought to look like one,” he told Sallinger. Nacchio says he now has clearance to talk about the defense that he couldn’t use at his trial. He says his refusal to cooperate with a National Security Agency surveillance project is what led to his downfall. Nacchio predicted a bright future for Qwest when he was CEO of the Colorado-based telecommunications company. But its stock crashed in 2001. (Photo of Nacchio, left, and Sallinger courtesy of CBS News.)

Former NSA Execs Warn Americans Against Loss of Political and Privacy Rights, Andrew Kreig, July 25, 2013. The NSA operates largely without accountability to other government branches or the public, according several former high-ranking NSA executives speaking July 25 at a forum at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. They said the NSA tries to collect as much phone, email, and social media data as possible from the world's population, including U.S. citizens, for storage and potential retrieval later. The process represents a massive loss of political freedom and privacy that Americans have enjoyed through history until recent years, according to panelists convened by the Government Accountability Project (GAP). GAP Executive Director Bea Edwards opened the forum by describing the pivotal role of whistleblowers to help the public understand when authorities overstep legal bounds.

USA Today, Senate approves USA Freedom Act, Erin Kelly, June 2, 2015. The Senate overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to end the National Security Agency's controversial bulk collection of the phone data of millions of Americans who have no ties to terrorism. Senators by a 67 to 32 margin approved the USA Freedom Act, which was passed by the House last month. President Obama signed the bill Tuesday night.

AP via Huffington Post, NSA Will Stop Looking At Old Phone Records, July 27, 2015. The Obama administration has decided that the National Security Agency will soon stop using Edward Snowdenmillions of American calling records it collected under a controversial program leaked by former agency contractor Edward Snowden (shown in photo). Congress passed a law earlier this year ending the NSA's bulk collection of American calling records after a six-month transition, but officials weren't sure what they would do about records going back five years that are currently being stored. The Director of National Intelligence said Monday that as of Nov. 29, those records would no longer be examined in terrorism investigations, and would be destroyed as soon as possible. The statement said that pending lawsuits prohibit immediate destruction of the records.

American Civil Liberties Union, End Mass Surveillance Under the Patriot Act, Staff report, June 2015. Just 45 days after the attacks of September 11, 2001, a panicked Congress passed, with virtually no debate, the USA Patriot Act. The law amounted to an overnight revision of the nation's surveillance laws that vastly expanded the government's authority to spy on its own citizens, while simultaneously reducing checks and balances on those powers. For years, we had little official information about how the government interpreted the overly broad surveillance bill. On June 6, 2013, the first of Edward Snowden's disclosures confirmed what some privacy advocates had long feared: Under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the U.S. government collects, on a daily basis, the phone records of millions of Americans. These records include the numbers dialed and received, the dates and times of those calls, and their duration. That program was ruled unlawful by an appeals court in May 2015. Section 215 is one of the three sections of the Patriot Act that are scheduled to sunset on June 1, 2015. This long-abused provision of the law has been a failure by nearly every measure. The author of the law has publicly stated that it was never intended to facilitate mass, suspicionless surveillance. It has not played an essential role in stopping any attack. And it has enabled an unprecedented surveillance superstructure that violates Americans' rights to privacy, free speech, and free association.

First Look / Intercept, USA Freedom Act: Small Step for Post-Snowden Reform, Giant Leap for Congress, Dan Froomkin, June 2, 2015. Exactly two years after journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras traveled to Hong Kong to meet an NSA whistleblower named Edward Snowden, Congress has finally brought itself to reform one surveillance program out of the multitude he revealed — a program so blatantly out of line that its end was a foregone conclusion as soon as it was exposed. The USA Freedom Act passed the House in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote three weeks ago. After hardliner Republicans lost a prolonged game of legislative chicken, the Senate gave its approval Tuesday afternoon as well, by a 67 to 32 margin. The bill officially ends 14 years of unprecedented bulk collection of domestic phone records by the NSA, replacing it with a program that requires the government to make specific requests to the phone companies.

After Snowden’s leak of NSA documents revealed it, the program was repeatedly found to violate the law, first by legal experts and blue-ribbon panels, and just last month by a federal appellate court. Its rejection by Congress is hardly a radical act — it simply reasserts the meaning of the word “relevant” (the language of the statute) as distinct from “everything” (how the government interpreted it). At the same time, the Freedom Act explicitly reauthorizes — or, rather, reinstates, since they technically expired at midnight May 31 — other programs involving the collection of business records that the Bush and Obama administrations claimed were authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. In fact, even the bulk collection of phone records, which was abruptly wound down last week in anticipation of a possible expiration, may wind up again, because the Freedom Act allows it to continue for a six-month transition period. And while the Freedom Act contains a few other modest reform provisions‚ such as more disclosure and a public advocate for the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, it does absolutely nothing to restrain the vast majority of the intrusive surveillance revealed by Snowden.

C-SPAN Book TV, James Bamford on NSA Spying and Edward Snowden, Created Feb. 3, 2014 based on filming Jan. 15 at National Press Club. (78 min.) Author James Bamford, who has written three books about the National Security Agency (NSA), talked about the history of NSA spying and the NSA’s surveillance of American citizens since the September 11, 2011 attacks. He also talked about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the lawsuit brought against the agency by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. This event was being held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Bamford is the author of The Puzzle Palace, the first book published about the NSA. He later authored two more: Body of Secrets and The Shadow Factory. Bamford has also written and co-produced a documentary on the NSA titled, The Spy Factory.

C-SPAN Live, James Bamford on Surveillance Policy, Jan. 18, 2014. Author James Bamford, who has written three books about the National Security Agency (NSA), talked about President Obama’s remarks on surveillance policy. A video clip was shown of President Obama’s speech the previous day about recommended changes to the way in which the NSA collects and monitors telephone data. Bamford also spoke about the potential for changes beyond the recommendations of the president’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies. He responded to telephone calls and electronic communications. Bamford is the author of The Puzzle Palace, the first book published about the NSA. 

William Binney

USA Today, We need real protection from the NSA, Ed Loomis, Kirk Wiebe, Thomas Drake, William Binney (left) and Diane Roark, Jan. 15, 2014. Wake up, America. While we've been paying attention to other things, our intelligence agencies have been tearing holes into the Bill of Rights. On Friday, President Obama is expected to issue new guidelines that purport to rein in these abuses, but leaked details leave little reason for hope that his proposals will go far enough. What America needs is a U-turn before we lose our freedom and our country. In the years since 9/11, administrations of both parties, along with U.S. intelligence agencies, have secretly built up enormous powers that they do not intend to relinquish. They were aided in this endeavor by the very institution that was supposed to be a safeguard, a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court whose secret rulings essentially set aside the Constitution. Ill-considered legislation from Congress has only enabled the collapse of checks and balances. In late 2005 and early 2006, the New York Times, then Mark Klein and USA TODAY received fragmentary information on a program that collected private information on Americans. Last June, publication of documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden revealed a far more intrusive program of domestic spying. These programs were supposed to protect us, but the president's NSA review panel found that spying on Americans has not prevented any terrorist attacks. Even if it had, the power the government has aggregated is a more dangerous threat to our freedom than is terrorism itself. The executive branch has vast troves of electronic data on most Americans, even those who have never been suspected of a crime.

Guardian, Obama's NSA 'Reforms' Are Little More Than a PR Attempt to Mollify the Public, Glenn Greenwald, Jan. 17, 2014. Obama is draping the banner of change over the NSA status quo. Bulk surveillance that caused such outrage will remain in place. In response to political scandal and public outrage, official Washington repeatedly uses the same well-worn tactic. Predictably, it is the same one that shaped President Obama's much-heralded Friday speech to announce his proposals for "reforming" the National Security Agency in the wake of seven months of intense worldwide controversy. The crux of this tactic is that US political leaders pretend to validate and even channel public anger by acknowledging that there are "serious questions that have been raised." They vow changes to fix the system and ensure these problems never happen again. And they then set out, with their actions, to do exactly the opposite: to make the system prettier and more politically palatable with empty, cosmetic "reforms" so as to placate public anger while leaving the system fundamentally unchanged, even more immune than before to serious challenge.

Washington Post, Why tech companies and the NSA diverge on Snowden, Peter Swire, Jan. 29, 2014. Peter Swire is a professor of law and ethics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He was a member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies and was the chief counselor for privacy in the Office of Management and Budget from 1999 to 2001. Is Edward Snowden a whistleblower or a traitor? There is a vast cultural divide between Silicon Valley and Washington on this issue, and the reasons reveal much about the broader debates about what to do in the wake of the leaks. After wrestling with the issue, I think that Snowden could have been a conscientious objector — but he has thus far failed the test. Snowden knowingly set himself above the law, claiming a higher morality. Full clemency, without any jail time, would create a bad precedent in holding others in the intelligence community accountable, should they break security rules.

Keith AlexanderWashington Post, U.S. officials harbor doubts Obama’s NSA goal can be met, Sari Horwitz and Ellen Nakashima, Jan. 21, 2014. Some fear the president’s push to quickly revamp the phone-data collection program is unworkable. U.S. officials directed by President Obama to find a way to end the government’s role in gathering Americans’ phone records are deeply concerned that there may be no feasible way to accomplish the task soon, according to individuals familiar with the discussions. In a speech last week, Obama put the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in charge of developing a plan by March 28 to transfer control of the massive database of records away from the National Security Agency — a step aimed at addressing widespread privacy concerns. But even among U.S. officials who applauded the recommendation in principle, there is a growing worry that the president’s goals are unattainable in the near future, officials said. NSA Director Keith Alexander is shown at right.

Washington Post, Head of intelligence calls on Snowden to return documents, Greg Miller, Jan. 29, 2014. James Clapper offers blistering remarks at an annual hearing on the most significant U.S. security threats.

Washington Post, Obama Speech, Breaking down Obama’s NSA speech, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, Jan. 21, 2014. President Obama called Friday for significant changes to the way the National Security Agency collects and uses telephone records of U.S. citizens.

Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show via OpEdNews, Whistleblower Former NSA Exec Thomas Drake On Obama's Speech, Bengazi, 911 and more, Rob Kall, Jan. 20, 2014. After attending a pre-lecture reception, then a one hour lecture, then doing dinner with Thomas Drake, that lasted almost five hours, I got together three days later with Thomas and did what turned out to be an almost 2.5 hour interview. This is the first hour of the interview. From Wikipedia: Thomas Drake is a former senior executive of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, and a whistleblower.

Washington Post, Obama faces big hurdles in plan to limit NSA power, Ellen Nakashima and Greg Miller, Jan. 18, 2014. Technical, logistical and political issues, many largely beyond Obama’s control, will make reforming the collection of Americans’ phone records more difficult.

Institute for Public Accuracy, NSA Veterans and Whistleblowers Respond to Obama Speech, Sam Husseini, Jan. 17, 2014. On Friday, the Russell Tice, Kurt Wiebe, William Binney, and Sam Husseini (Noel St. John Photo)Institute for Public Accuracy held a news conference with several NSA whistleblowers immediately after President Obama’s address. NSA veterans Bill Binney, Russ Tice and Kirk Wiebe spoke at a news conference at 12:30 at the National Press Club. Binney and Wiebe — as well as Thomas Drake — are among the authors of a USA Today op-ed published Jan. 17 titled “We Need Real Protection from the NSA,” which states: “On Friday, President Obama is expected to issue new guidelines that purport to rein in these [NSA] abuses, but leaked details leave little reason for hope that his proposals will go far enough. What America needs is a U-turn before we lose our freedom and our country." Bill Binney (right) is former technical director of the NSA’s World Geopolitical and Military Analysis Reporting Group and co-founder of the SIGINT [Signals intelligence] Automation Research Center. Russ Tice (standing) is former National Security Agency analyst and a source for the New York Times’ pieces published in 2005 about NSA surveillance. Photo credit: Noel St. John. Audio. The Institute for Public Accuracy was founded in mid-1997 by Norman Solomon with the support of a two-year $100,000-per-year Public Interest Pioneer grant from the Stern Family Fund.

Nacchio Insider Trading Case and Appeal

U.S. Supreme Court Petitions To Watch
Nacchio v. United States, No. 08-1172. Issue: Whether the district court correctly instructed the jury on materiality, whether the district court properly excluded the testimony of a witness under Fed. R. Evid. 702, and whether there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s finding that the defendant knowingly failed to disclose material information on insider trading. 

SCOTUSblog, Analysis: New approach to “insider” gains, Lyle Denniston, Aug. 11, 2009. A major dispute over how severely to punish a corporate “insider” who makes gains from trading in the company’s stock with information other investors don’t have seemed a likely bet for Supreme Court review.  But that won’t happen now: the Justice Department has decided not to test the question further, after losing on it recently in the Tenth Circuit Court. In a direct conflict with the Eighth Circuit Court, the Tenth Circuit on July 31 adopted a new theory on stock market activity that can have the effect of sharply reducing the amount of money an executive made on “insider” transactions, leading to a required lowering of the criminal sentence for conviction of that crime.  The Tenth Circuit ruled in the case of a former telecom tycoon, Qwest’s former CEO, Joseph P. Nacchio. (The ruling can be found here.)

Nacchio was convicted of 19 counts of “insider” trading, based on sales of Qwest stock between April 26, 2001, and May 29, 2001, using inside information about the risks that the company might not make its projected revenue targets for that year.  He was sentenced to six years in prison, fined $19 million, and ordered to forfeit about $52 million. (Nacchio has appealed to the Supreme Court to challenge his conviction, in Nacchio v. U.S., docket 08-1172. After the Tenth Circuit had upheld his conviction, Nacchio pursued a separate challenge to his sentence, contending that the trial judge misapplied the federal Sentencing Guidelines. He won on his key legal point in the Circuit Court’s July 31 ruling. In general, the Circuit panel adopted a variation of the so-called “market absorption theory,” as applied directly to “insider” trading. Simply put, this theory suggests that, if an “insider” trades on private information about the company, the gain made from the transactions will be reduced if there is evidence that — once all investors had access to that information — the market absorbed it, so that any gain beyond that point for the “insider” would be due to market activity, not the continuing effect of the illegal trading.

Law 360, Ex-Qwest CEO Can Pursue $18M Tax Refund Tied To Tips, Matthew Villmer, March 14, 2014. A federal court said Wednesday that Qwest Communications International Inc.’s former CEO can seek almost $18 million in tax refunds after he forfeited millions in proceeds from stock sales as part of a criminal conviction for insider trading. U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Mary E. Williams blasted the Internal Revenue Service’s argument that Joseph Nacchio was not entitled to a tax refund because his losses were traceable to insider trading, saying public policy has nothing to do with an analysis of the law surrounding tax refunds.

Nacchio's Judge Resigns In Sex Scandal, Other Irregularities Alleged

New York Times, New Trial Is Ordered for Qwest Ex-Chief, Dan Frosch, March 18, 2008. A federal appeals court panel reversed the insider-trading conviction of Joseph P. Nacchio, the former chief executive of Qwest Communications International, on Monday and ordered that Mr. Nacchio receive a new trial in front of a different judge. Joseph P. Nacchio, the former chief executive of Qwest, accompanied last July by his wife, Ann, before his sentencing in Denver. He appealed his conviction for insider trading. Judge Paul J. Kelly and Judge Michael W. McConnell of the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit ruled for the majority in a 2-to-1 decision that a federal district court judge had wrongly excluded an expert witness for Mr. Nacchio during his trial last year.

Federal prosecutors accused Mr. Nacchio once a rising star in the telecommunications world, of knowingly concealing Qwest’s mounting financial troubles from investors, despite warnings from other executives, while simultaneously selling millions in personal shares. In a month-long trial, Mr. Nacchio’s defense team argued that Mr. Nacchio had not sold his shares because he was trying to hide information, but because the options were to expire soon. Last April, a Denver jury convicted Mr. Nacchio of 19 of 42 counts of insider trading, acquitting him of 23 other charges. In July, Judge Edward W. Nottingham sentenced him to six years in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of $19 million and forfeit $52 million in money he had earned from stock sales in 2001.

Mr. Nacchio, who has remained free on bond, appealed the conviction, arguing that there was inadequate evidence to convict him, that the jury had received improper instructions and that Judge Nottingham had wrongly disallowed expert testimony critical to his defense. Judge Kelly and Judge McConnell ruled that the exclusion of the expert witness warranted a new trial, and that the initial evidence presented was enough for the government to try Mr. Nacchio again. The witness in question, Daniel Fischel, an expert on corporate finance, was expected to testify that the pattern of Mr. Nacchio’s stock sales did not appear reliant on the insider information he was privy to as chief executive. But Judge Nottingham, siding with federal prosecutors, barred Mr. Fischel from presenting his analysis on the basis that the defense had not adequately disclosed his methodology and that his testimony could have an unfair influence over the jury. Mr. Fischel was only permitted to testify to the facts of Mr. Nacchio’s stock dealings.

AP via Summit Daily, Judge Nottingham Resigns, P. Solomon Banda, Oct. 31, 2008. A chief federal judge in Colorado who resigned amid misconduct allegations last week faced claims from an appellate judge Former U.S. District Judge Edward Nottinghamthat he patronized prostitutes, according to court documents released Thursday. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the complaints against Edward Nottingham, whose resignation went into effect Wednesday. In an order, Chief Circuit Judge Robert H. Henry said the complaints are unnecessary in light of Nottingham's resignation. He said the misconduct procedures apply only to active federal judges, noting Nottingham had resigned. Nottingham also faced an allegation from a prostitute that he had asked her to lie, according to the documents released by the Circuit Court on Thursday. It was unclear whether a criminal investigation is under way. Jeff Dorschner, a spokesman with the U.S. Attorney's Office, and FBI spokeswoman Kathleen Wright said they could not comment on the matter. Nottingham presided over the insider trading trial of former Qwest Communications CEO Joe Nacchio. Nottingham [shown in a file photo] ceased judicial activities and announced his resignation Oct. 21 amid investigation of the complaints.

Denver Post, Nottingham: A thoughtful judge and an exacting jurist, Felisa Cardona and Mike McPhee, Oct. 22, 2008. In nearly 19 years on the bench, former Chief U.S. District Judge Edward W. Nottingham Jr. often generated a mix of respect and aggravation from those who appeared before him. Always nattily attired — kerchief in pocket, impeccable suits and a bright- blue robe on the bench — Nottingham could be quick with cutting remarks directed at an unprepared attorney, and he kept the bar high for courtroom decorum, once famously sending a plaintiff out to change clothes.

Denver Post, District Judge Nottingham resigns, apologizes, Staff report, Oct. 21, 2008. Chief U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham has resigned from the federal bench in the midst of an investigation into misconduct outside the courtroom. In divorce proceedings, Nottingham's former wife alleged that he had spent thousands of dollars in a strip club. Since that time, 9News reported that Nottingham's name popped up as a client in an investigation of a Denver prostitution ring and that a prostitute had complained to the 10th Circuit that Nottingham had asked her to mislead judicial investigators about their relationship. In an unsigned statement issued on Nottingham's behalf, the nearly 19-year federal judge apologized for his actions, which have never been formally detailed in an investigation by the 10th Circuit that remains secret. "Under Judge Nottingham's leadership, the District of Colorado developed and implemented several advanced technological methods of conducting court business to include electronic courtroom evidence presentation and electronic case filings," the statement said. "Throughout his judicial career, Judge Nottingham worked tirelessly to ensure that his courtroom and case management practices were premised on the law and applied fairly to all who appeared before him." After working as a judicial clerk and a federal prosecutor, Nottingham was appointed to the bench Nov. 27, 1989 by President George H.W. Bush.

AP via ABC News, Court orders shorter sentence for ex-Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio, P. Solomon Banda, July 31, 2009. An appeals court has ordered a new, shorter sentence for ex-Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio, saying his 6-year term for insider trading was too long. The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the trial judge overstated the amount of Nacchio's alleged financial gain. Nacchio was convicted in 2007 of 19 counts of insider trading and acquitted on 23 counts. Prosecutors alleged he sold $52 million in Qwest Communications International stock based on nonpublic information that the Denver-based telecommunications company was at risk. A three-judge panel at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver on Friday agreed with Nacchio's lawyers that the $52 million figure was too high. Instead, the figure used should have been Nacchio's net profit resulting from illegal insider trading. Nacchio's attorneys argue that the former CEO is being punished for the price increase of Qwest stock from 1997, and his actual profit would have been $1.8 million, capping his prison sentence at 4 years, three months.

Law 360, Supreme Court Turns Down Nacchio's Rehearing Bid, Ryan Davis, Nov. 30, 2009. The U.S. Supreme Court has again declined to take up the insider trading case of imprisoned former Qwest Communications International Inc. CEO Joseph Nacchio, rejecting his request for reconsideration after denying his petition for writ of certiorari in October. The court on Monday denied without comment Nacchio's petition for a rehearing of its earlier ruling. The court's denial of his cert petition let stand the disgraced executive's conviction as affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit earlier this year. In his cert petition, Nacchio had argued that the Tenth Circuit improperly allowed critical expert testimony to be excluded from his trial. In March 2008, a three-judge panel of the Tenth Circuit said Judge Edward Nottingham of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado was wrong to exclude the testimony of defense expert Daniel Fischel, a professor. The panel overturned Nacchio's conviction by a 2-1 vote and ordered a new trial. The full Tenth Circuit ruled 5-4 in February that the expert testimony was properly excluded as unreliable and reinstated Nacchio's conviction.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Legal Foundation, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the New York Council of Defense Lawyers all filed amicus briefs urging the Supreme Court to hear Nacchio's case, arguing that it raised important questions about the type of expert testimony that can be used in securities litigation. Fischel was Nacchio's only substantive witness and was to have testified that the allegedly inside information Nacchio used had no impact on Qwest's stock price and that his stock sales were consistent with other similarly situated executives, according to the amicus briefs. Associated Press, Ex-Qwest CEO convicted of insider trading sues his lawyers, saying they billed him for underwear, in-room movies, March 23, 2011. The former chief executive officer of Qwest Communications today sued the lawyers [from the firm of former New Jersey U.S. Attorney Herbert Stern] who represented him in his insider-trading case, claiming they "grossly overbilled" him and sought payment for staff breakfasts, underwear and in-room movies.

Denver Post, Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio sues his attorneys, Steve Raabe, March 24, 2013. Former Qwest chief executive Joe Nacchio sued his attorneys Wednesday for negligence and overbilling, including charges for lawyers' underwear purchases. The lawsuit alleges that attorney Herbert Stern and his New Jersey law firm of Stern & Kilkullen charged unreasonable and inappropriate fees, and were "negligent and careless" in the defense of Nacchio, who was charged with 42 counts of insider trading in December 2005 and convicted on 19 counts in April 2007 after a 21-day trial. The lawsuit says Stern's firm billed Nacchio more than $25 million for representation in criminal and civil issues. Qwest has covered a portion of Nacchio's legal fees. The suit, filed in New Jersey Superior Court, claims Stern's firm inappropriately billed Nacchio "tens of thousands of dollars for staff breakfasts, the cost of attorney underwear and in-room (hotel) movies." "This billing was outrageous," said attorney Bruce Nagel, whose Roseland, N.J., firm is representing Nacchio in the lawsuit. The suit also alleges that Stern's firm was "negligent and careless in handling the defense of the criminal action. Among other things, they were barred by the trial court from calling a critical expert witness by virtue of their blatant failure to comply with basic litigation procedures."

Denver Post, Former Qwest CEO Joe Nacchio moved from prison to halfway house, Andy Vuong, Denver Post, April 1, 2013. Former Qwest CEO and convicted felon Joe Nacchio is wrapping up more than four years in prison at a halfway house in the New York area. Scheduled for release in September, Nacchio recently was transferred from the minimum-security Lewisburg prison camp in central Pennsylvania. He started his term at the Schuylkill minimum-security prison camp in Minersville, Pa., in April 2009 and was moved to Lewisburg two years later. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Nacchio has been assigned to a residential reentry center, or a halfway house, that is overseen by a community corrections management field office in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Richard Scrushy and Don Siegelman

Justice Integrity Project, Supreme Court Denies Siegelman, Scrushy Appeals, Andrew Kreig, June 4, 2012. True to recent form, the U.S. Supreme Court denied relief June 4 to former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman on corruption charges. This sets the stage for Siegelman's reimprisonment in the most notorious federal political prosecution and frame-up of the decade. The court denied without comment the certiorari petition of Siegelman and co-defendant Richard Scrushy, former CEO of HealthSouth, Inc. In 2007, U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller sentenced them to seven-year prison terms on multiple charges from Siegelman's solicitation of donations from Scrushy in 1999 for the non-profit Alabama Education Foundation. Siegelman supported the foundation's initiatives to increase school funding with a state lottery over the opposition of a Republican-orchestrated coalition.

Don Siegelman and Richard ScrushyDon Siegelman, left, and Richard Scrushy are shown in photos from a major investigation by CBS 60 Minutes broadcast on Feb. 24, 2008 and documenting serious irregularities in their prosecution. 

Huffington Post, Siegelman Deserves New Trial Because of Judge’s ‘Grudge’, Evidence Shows, Andrew Kreig, May 15, 2009. $300 Million in Bush Military Contracts Awarded to Judge’s Private Company. The Alabama federal judge who presided over the 2006 corruption trial of the state's former governor holds a grudge against the defendant for helping to expose the judge's own alleged corruption six years ago. Former Gov. Don Siegelman therefore deserves a new trial with an unbiased judge ─ not one whose privately owned company, Doss Aviation, has been enriched by the Bush administration's award of $300 million in contracts since 2006, making the judge millions in non-judicial income. These are the opinions of Missouri attorney Paul B. Weeks, who is speaking out publicly for the first time since his effort in 2003 to obtain the impeachment of U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery on Doss Aviation-related allegations.

Legal Schnauzer, Feds Promised To Release Scrushy From Prosecution If He Provided False Testimony Against Siegelman, Roger Shuler, April 9, 2013. Federal prosecutors offered to let Richard Scrushy out of the Don Siegelman case if he agreed to testify in a way that would "give" them the former Alabama governor. Scrushy, the former CEO of Birmingham-based HealthSouth Corporation, said prosecutors gave him several examples of testimony that would help ensure a bribery conviction against Siegelman. None of the proposed statements was truthful, Scrushy said, so he refused the offer. He wound up being convicted and was released from federal prison last July after serving a six-year sentence. Siegelman was released from custody for several years to pursue appeals, but returned to prison last September after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

Mark Fuller Phil FlemingEditor's Note: Many legal scholars and former top state prosecutors from around the nation have argued that Siegelman's reappointment of Scrushy was typical politics, not a crime. But Alabama's legal and media establishment protected the judge for the most part by ignoring or soft-peddling allegations of bias, conflict of interest, or misconduct. The rarely photographed judge is shown at left in chambers in a portrait by freelancer Phil Fleming, used here with permission. The photo was minutes after the Siegelman-Scrushy jury verdict in June 2006. The convictions followed a nearly hung jury in what was a second trial for each defendant. The Justice Integrity Project broke the story that Fleming recalled from that photo shoot how Fuller had summoned him and a sketch artist into chambers to record the occasion. Fleming advised the judge to cut out "the Cheshire Cat" look because such happiness made the judge look too undignified for the occasion.

Huffington Post, As Rove Testifies About Firings At Justice, Why Did DoJ Fire Whistleblower? July 8, 2009. New questions are surfacing about political intrigue at the U.S. Justice Department after former White House political strategist Karl Rove provided his long-awaited responses to House Judiciary Committee staff Tuesday about allegations that he pressured prosecutors to target Democrats nationally. Few details have emerged about Rove's questioning on such topics as the 2006 dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys for political reasons. By remarkable coincidence, however, the Justice Department separately confirmed Tuesday that it has fired Alabama whistleblower Tamarah GrimesTamarah Grimes, shown in a personal photo she provided to the Justice Integrity Project. She was the top in-house paralegal for the prosecution team that won corruption convictions in 2006 against former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat, and HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. Grimes later provided her Justice Department superiors and Congress with evidence that the rights of the defendants were violated. Siegelman and Scrushy cited her revelations heavily in their motions since June 26 for a new trial based on new evidence. In an interview today for this article, Grimes alleged a bone-chilling conspiracy to frame the defendants for political gain. She says her experiences opened her eyes to parallels outside Alabama and to the ruinous consequences for federal government employees of protesting injustice. "No one helps you," says Grimes, who adds that she was browbeaten with threats of false criminal charges by her superiors and investigators alike. She says Congress needs to enhance protections for whistleblowers to prevent wrongdoing by government officials. Justice Department spokesman Tracy Schmaler responded, "The Department takes seriously its obligation under the whistleblower law, and did not violate it with regards to the termination of this employee. For privacy reasons, it would be inappropriate to comment any further on this personnel matter at this time."

Justice Integrity Project, Prosecutorial Misconduct Forum At National Press Club, June 26, 2009 (3 hours, 4 minutes), Video: C-SPAN.  

Huffington Post, Alabama Decisions Illustrate Abuse of Judicial Power, Andrew Kreig, June 10, 2009. The plight of litigants who face a biased judge is illustrated by the track record of a prominent Alabama federal judge, as well by major recent decisions requiring new trials in West Virginia and Georgia courts. The track record of Chief U.S. District Judge Mark E. Fuller of Montgomery, Alabama shows that he continues to supervise cases compromised by his personal, financial or political interests despite his promise at his 2002 confirmation hearing to recuse himself from any conflicts. Exposure of Fuller's record is timely because of the Senate's forthcoming hearings for Obama administration judicial nominees, and because of growing concerns about the recusal standard. These include the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling June 8 that a West Virginia Supreme Court judge should have recused himself from a case involving a major contributor to his judicial election campaign. Also, a federal judge in Georgia admitted last month that he shouldn't have tried and sentenced a high-profile political adversary who now seeks dismissal of the charges.

Huffington Post, Siegelman's First Trial Judge Blasts U.S. Prosecutors, Seeks Probe of 'Unfounded' Charges, May 21, 2009, Andrew Kreig, One of the most experienced federal judges in recent Alabama history is denouncing the U.S. Justice Department prosecution of former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman. Retired Chief U.S. District Judge U.W. Clemon of Birmingham calls for a probe of misconduct by federal prosecutors ─ including their alleged "judge-shopping," jury-pool "poisoning" and "unfounded" criminal charges in an effort to imprison Siegelman.

Legal Schnauzer, Richard Scrushy: Convictions In the Siegelman Case Are Grounded In A Former Aide's Flawed Testimony, Roger Shuler, April 8, 2013. Bribery convictions in the Don Siegelman case are based almost entirely on an aide's testimony that he saw the former governor holding a $250,000 check after a meeting with then HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy. That scenario, as described under oath by former Siegelman aide Nick Bailey, has a slight flaw--it never happened, according to a man who was central to the alleged transaction. Richard Scrushy, who was released from federal prison last July after serving a six-year sentence, says he never had such a meeting with Siegelman -- and he never gave the governor a check. That is one of several major revelations from Scrushy's one-hour interview last Thursday with San Francisco-based radio host Peter B. Collins. It was Scrushy's first interview about the Siegelman case, and the podcast can be heard in its entirety at Collins invited me to assist with the interview, and I was on the phone line to hear Scrushy describe the case against him and Siegelman as a "farce" and a "joke." In fact, Scrushy still can't seem to believe that it happened.  

Peter B. Collins, Exclusive: Richard Scrushy Breaks Silence on His Conviction with Gov. Siegelman in Bogus Bribery Case Linked to Karl Rove, Peter B. Collins, April 4, 2013. Richard Scrushy, former HealthSouth CEO who was convicted of bribing former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and served about 6 years in federal prison, gives some new dimensions to the sordid story we’ve covered for many years in this exclusive interview, co-anchored with Roger Shuler of Legal Schnauzer.Scrushy’s rags-to-riches story includes founding and being CEO of HealthSouth, which he built into a giant in its field. In this in-depth interview, he offers his view of the controversial case that sent him and former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman to federal prison. This is the first media interview Scrushy, at right with one of his nine children while imprisoned, has given since being released last summer.

Legal Schnauzer, Richard Scrushy's Tenacity Might Unearth Evidence Of Prosecutorial Corruption In The Siegelman Case, Roger Shuler, March 27, 2013. Richard Scrushy, co-defendant in the political prosecution of former Governor Don Siegelman, is one of the most controversial figures in modern Alabama history. He seems convinced that he was wrongly convicted, that a broken justice system punished him for a non crime, and he remains intent on proving it. I admire that kind of principle and backbone in anyone. And in Scrushy's case, he is absolutely on target--he and Siegelman were railroaded by a bevy of corrupt lawyers, prosecutors, judges, and political operatives. In his most recent brief to the U.S. Eleventh Circuit of Appeals, Scrushy points to the existence of evidence that likely will prove he and Siegelman never should have been prosecuted, much less convicted, under the law. Will Scrushy be allowed access to that evidence, and will he be able to use it in a way that shows the Siegelman case was a cheat job of monstrous proportions? Those questions are at the heart of Scrushy's pending appeal, which included oral arguments before a three-judge panel in Atlanta on March 19.

Abraham Bolden and Secret Service Protection of President Kennedy

John F. Kennedy side profileHuffington Post, After 45 Years, a Civil Rights Hero Waits for Justice, Thom Hartmann, July 13, 2009, updated May 25, 2011. A great miscarriage of justice has kept most Americas from learning about a Civil Rights pioneer who worked with President John F. Kennedy. But there is finally a way for citizens to not only right that wrong, but bring closure to the most tragic chapter of American presidential history. After an outstanding career in law enforcement, Abraham Bolden was appointed by JFK to be the first African American presidential Secret Service agent, where he served with distinction. He was part of the Secret Service effort that prevented JFK's assassination in Chicago, three weeks before Dallas. But Bolden was framed by the Mafia and arrested on the very day he went to Washington to tell the Warren Commission staff about the Chicago attempt against JFK. Bolden was sentenced to six years in prison, despite glaring problems with his prosecution. His arrest resulted from accusations by two criminals Bolden had sent to prison. In Bolden's first trial, an apparently biased judge told the jury that Bolden was guilty, even before they began their deliberations. Though granted a new trial because of that, the same problematic judge was assigned to oversee Bolden's second trial, which resulted in his conviction. Later, the main witness against Bolden admitted committing perjury against him. A key member of the prosecution even took the fifth when asked about the perjury. Yet Bolden's appeals were denied, and he had to serve hard time in prison, and today is considered a convicted felon. 

IJacqueline Kennedy, Clinton Hill in Dallasn a colorized, iconic image from the JFK assassination in Dallas, Secret Service agent Clint Hill bravely seeks to protect First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Dealey Plaza.

Far less known are credible reports that the Secret Service and Dallas city and county police failed to follow normal procedure in securing advance the multiple potential assassin sites at the plaza, such as the privately owned Texas Book Depository Building and the nearby picket fence on the grassy knoll overlooking the last part of parade route. A view from the picket fence is portrayed below in a Justice Integrity Project photo on the 50th anniversary of JFK's death.

The "X" on the street marks the approximate location of the president's limousine at the time of the fatal shot. Dallas authorities have repeatedly removed the "X," which has been repeatedly repainted through the years by those who believe the reminder remains important. 


Dealey Plaza Picket Fence (Andrew Kreig Photo)

ABC News, Ex-Secret Service agent Abraham Bolden claims misconduct in JFK era Ex-Secret Service agent claims misconduct in JFK era, Chuck Goudie, November 22, 2013. Abraham Bolden believes the Secret Service was in no shape to stop an assassination in Dallas, 50 years ago. Being the first black Secret Service agent on a U.S. President detail would seem enough to lock Abraham Bolden's place in history. But what sets him apart is the conspiracy of silence he says took place within the Secret Service -- a conspiracy he claims contributed to President Kennedy's vulnerability on that day in Dallas, 50 years ago. Bolden believes the Secret Service was in no shape to stop an assassination. "Now, for 50 years, Chuck, for 50 years, the United States Secret Service called me a liar," said Bolden. It wasn't that way in 1963 when President Kennedy brought Bolden from Chicago to the White House. Promoting agent Bolden to an all-white arm of the Secret Service was a bold move by the President in those heated civil rights days. But it ended on November 22, 1963. "It was as if I had been assassinated just like John F. Kennedy. The clean Abe was dead, now you've got another Abe to deal with," said Bolden. Bolden had complained to his superiors about earlier plots against the President -- including several in Chicago -- that were mishandled by the Secret Service and the dereliction of agents assigned to protect Kennedy. "They stayed out all night on Rush Street drinking and celebrating, one agent got so drunk they had to take him back to the hotel," said Bolden. In 1964, as Bolden was on his way to testify before the Warren Commission, he himself was arrested on federal charges that he had solicited a bribe from counterfeiters he had helped bust. It took two trials to convict him in a reportedly weak case and he did six years in prison that Bolden has long held was a set-up and payback for his allegations against the secret service. "I don't think any citizen of the United States of America should have to endure what I had to endure simply because I wanted to tell the truth about what was going on surrounding the protection of a president of the United States. I'm not gonna stop until I take my last breath because I swore to uphold the Constitution. I went to prison-but that was my oath and that oath binds me for the rest of my life," said Bolden. The 78-year-old Bolden says he has been vindicated recently by well-publicized misconduct of Service Service agents and officials surrounding presidential trips to South America -- the same kinds of misconduct that he complained about 50 years ago. It is a culture of carousing and covering up that Bolden says continues to this day. Not all, or even the majority, but enough, he says to be a danger to those they protect. The U.S. Secret Service has never directly replied to any of Bolden's accusations.


Justice Integrity Project Readers Guide To JFK Assassination

* Denotes major articles in this Readers Guide series

Dealey Plaza Panorama (Andrew Kreig Photo)At right is a photo by this editor in Dallas showing Dealey Plaza. The Texas Book Depository Building where alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald worked is behind the row of trees. The car in the center lane is near the location of President Kennedy's limo at the time of his fatal shooting. The grassy knoll, from where most witnesses say shots emanated, is at left, with its picket fence just out of sight beyond the large road sign.

  1. Project Launches JFK Assassination Readers' Guide, Oct. 16, 2013.
  2. Project Provides JFK Readers Guide To New Books, Videos , Oct. 26, 2013. This is a list of new books and films in 2013.
  3. Project Lists JFK Assassination Reports, Archives, Videos, Events, Nov. 2, 2013. Leading video, events and archives from the last 50 years. *
  4. Disputes Erupt Over NY Times, New Yorker, Washington Post Reviews of JFK Murder, Nov. 7, 2013. *
  5. Self-Censorship In JFK TV Treatments Duplicates Corporate Print Media's Apathy, Cowardice, Nov. 7, 2013.
  6. 'Puppetry' Hardback Launched Nov. 19 at DC Author Forum on ‘White House Mysteries & Media,'  Nov. 19, 2013.
  7. Major Media Stick With Oswald 'Lone Gunman' JFK Theory, Nov. 27, 2013. Self-censorship.
  8. JFK Murder Scene Trapped Its Victim In Kill Zone, Nov. 30, 2013.
  9. JFK Murder, The CIA, and 8 Things Every American Should Know, Dec. 9, 2013. The CIA implicated itself in the cover-up, according to experts who have spoken out. *
  10. JFK Murder Prompts Expert Reader Reactions, Dec. 19, 2013. Reactions to our Dec. 9 column. 
  11. Have Spy Agencies Co-Opted Presidents and the Press? Dec. 23, 2013. *
  12. Don't Be Fooled By 'Conspiracy Theory' Smears, May 26, 2014. *
  13. Experts To Reveal Secrets of JFK Murder, Cover-up at Sept. 26-28 DC Forum , Sept. 5, 2014. 
  14. Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later, Sept. 22, 2014. *
  15. JFK Experts To Explode Myths, Sign Books In DC Sept. 26-28, Sept. 24, 2014.
  16. Former Cuban Militant Leader Claims CIA Meeting With Oswald Before JFK Killing, Sept. 27, 2014. *
  17. JFK Readers Guide: Assassination Books, Reports, Oct. 15, 2014. *
  18. Former House JFK Murder Prober Alleges CIA ‘Lied,’ Seeks Hidden Records, Oct. 18, 2014. *
  19. The JFK Murder 'Cover-up' Still Matters -- As Does C-SPAN's Coverage, Nov. 11, 2014. *
  20. JFK, Nov. 22 and the Continuing Cover-Up, Nov. 24, 2014. *
  21. JFK Assassination Readers Guide To 2013-14 Events, Nov. 28, 2014. *
  22. CIA, Empowered by JFK Murder Cover-up, Blocks Senate Torture Report, Dec. 1, 2014. *
  23. Nearly Too Late, Public Learns of Bill Moyers’ Conflicts Over PBS, LBJ, Jan. 2, 2014.
  24. Why Bill O'Reilly's Lie About JFK's Murder Might Matter To You, March 17, 2015.
  25. Free Videos Show Shocking Claims About CIA, JFK Murder Probes, June 29, 2015.